No news of Nonis appointment as High Commissioner

by Our London Correspondent

(July 05, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) On June 4, 2011, the government’s side kick ‘The Island’ newspaper reported that a non carrier diplomat Dr Chris Nonis will ‘take over as SL’s envoy in the UK’. The only hurdle that was reported in the news was the diplomatic clearance by the British government.

It is a month since the government’s drum beater ‘The Island’ revealed this top secret. But there is still no news about Dr Nonis appointment. Speculation is rife within the Sri Lankan community and Sri Lanka High Commission in London too is maintaining silence on the issue. Those who filter news from the High Commission have been threatened and silenced.

However, a contact with the High Commission confirmed that high profile Dr Chris Nonis has declined the appointment and the External Affairs Ministry is said to be in a quagmire to find another person.

Due to British government stand on accountability issues, Sri Lanka is unable to appoint a military official as High Commissioner. The former High Commissioner Justice Nihal Jayasinghe vacated his post in November 2010 and went to Cambodia to serve in the War Crimes Tribunal. The said controversial retired Justice cum ex-High Commissioner could not handle the pressures of the work as the head of the mission and he also could not cope with the conflict of his former position as Justice and release blatant denial statements on serious war crimes and accountability issues.

‘The Island’ reported that: ‘Nonis is a doctor with an M.B.B.S. from Royal Free Medical College hospital in North West London. He is the incumbent chairman of Mackwoods and also serves as an advisor to many business organizations. He is also an advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO).He studied in London and got a first class honours Bsc degree from Imperial College in London.He was also appointed as the Deputy Chairman of Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) in London in 2008. Dr. Nonis is the first Sri Lankan to hold such a high position in the Society. Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain is the patron of RSC’.

The debilitating numbers and standards of professional diplomats due to heavy involvement of the Defence Ministry and the appointments of non career persons for the diplomatic posts together with the incompetent and non assertive External Affairs Minister Prof G L Pieris are said to be the ever compounding failures at the foreign ministry in Colombo.

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